Sabba Khan – Recipes For Resistance
Roti, Resilience, Reparenting
Repetition and the Sacred
The act of making roti, especially for a large extended family, is highly repetitive. Sometimes you can end up making 20-30 rotis in one go. Making more than necessary is seen as frivolous. The roti maker is usually the last to eat – making sure that everyone has exactly the amount they require. Roti is seen as sacred. If there does happen to be any left over, the roti is broken down into smaller morsels and given to the birds to eat. As such, no grain is gone to waste.
The Rolling Pin
Using the rolling pin I explore print making and the process of repetition by engraving, scoring, and reshaping the pin. In a decisive act of transformation, I subvert the use of a rolling pin, from a traditional domestic utensil used in South Asian staple food, and turn it into a print making object that can convey message and tell a story.
Pattern and Allegory
The limited surface area of the rolling pin means the printed outcome is a continuous repeat pattern. Using the same motif, but changing the dialogue and internal thoughts of the characters, I ask, can we change our relationship to a situation based on how we think about it? The final strip of the three, in yellow, suggests a re-working of the archetypal South Asian family dynamic. Can we heal and move forward whilst holding on to cultural heritage that provides identity and binds us together? Can I begin to cook roti again, shedding the old limited notions I’d learnt, and find new meaning for roti in my life? And most importantly, can we do this together?
Sabba Khan is an architectural designer & graphic novelist. Her work is an exploration of first world city life as a second generation Azad Kashmiri Muslim migrant. She explores themes of belonging, memory and identity. Using a hybrid of text and visual commentary, she sits at the intersection of visual storytelling, poetry, and spatial form. Her forthcoming graphic novel is due for release in 2021 by Myriad Editions and is funded by Jerwood Arts. She has been book cover artist and contributor to Eisner Award Winning ‘Drawing Power’ a Best Comics of 2019 from New York Times. Clients include SOAS University, The British Library and the London Borough of Newham.
Sabba’s work is part of Recipes For Resistance exhibition at Ort Gallery. sculptural, illustrative and print works and will be shared in the exhibition 24 Oct ~ 28 Nov at Ort Gallery, Birmingham. www.ortgallery.co.uk/exhibitions/recipes-for-resistance/. There are also interactive elements for audiences to engage with. You can also keep up to date with Sabba’s work directly on her website www.sabbakhan.com